Archive:  Year 3 - Saturday, October 25, 2008 #30: "Safe Harbor"

I have mice on board.  

I have not seen them, but I have heard them – a few nights in a row now – scurrying along the ceiling above my head in the cuddy.  This is not good.

There are many reasons why the mice being aboard is, in fact, very bad.  First, it is – as infestations usually are - disgusting.  If it were simply their soft, brown, adorably mousey selves co-existing with Gracie and I – I would not protest.  I might even enjoy a friendly colony of mice, eating their food with their charming little hands and finding safe shelter here.  Sadly, mice poop relatively constantly and when they die in the walls they rot and stink.  So, instead of co-habitation – I have decided to kill every single one of them I find.  Not a lot of room for middle ground in these situations, it seems.

But killing all of the mice aboard the boat is not as easy a prospect to do as it is to write on a ‘to do’ list.  If I could get rid of them without killing them, of course, I would vastly prefer that.  However my initial ‘shock and awe’ strategy of intimidation did not yield the desired results.  I tried banging around the boat wildly, biting the heads of rubber mice and hanging their lifeless bodies from the bow as a sort of warning...  Apparently, the word did not spread, as hoped, that my boat is a sort of deadly and unpredictable no-mouseland. 

Gratefully, I have not seen evidence of them in my living space.  My food is clear, the paper towel has not been shredded – no poop.  Gracie has not seemed to notice them either, although I’m not sure what she would do if she did.  I would not be surprised to one day find her giving them a boost with her nose; raising them gently to the shelf with the chocolate.  Helping them when she can, and ultimately rising as their Queen…

So now I have to think about traps.  

There are snap traps, of course.  Designed to break them to death.  When it works ideally, it seems to be relatively humane and effective.  Two problems with snap traps, however, is that they occasionally break them to near-death leaving a heart-wrenching and mutually torturous ending; or the traps are tripped without breaking anything.

A few years ago I tried the sticky traps and while they proved the most effective – I simply couldn’t stand them.  Too often I found the gory scene of some poor little creature who had used it’s last breath to escape it – often ripping itself apart.  At the very least, that can’t be good for the boat karma.

Poison traps are really not an option because of the tight quarters and Gracie’s intense curiosity.  

It’s days like these I wish my Dad lived closer…

In the big picture, of course, I also share certain sympathy with the mice who are only – as I am – preparing for Winter.    


As I write this it is just before 10:30PM on a Saturday night.  The temperature is currently a tolerable 52, but tomorrow there is a forecast I haven’t seen in months.  Snow.  

While I am not officially behind in my Winter prep – there is certainly more ‘yet to be done’ than has been ‘accomplished’.  The nature of the beast, however, does require a certain sprint in these last weeks of Fall that can’t necessarily be avoided.  The insulation, for example, that is applied to the outside walls, can’t really be hung until the date for the shrink-wrap is set.  If the insulation is hung too early, it is vulnerable to wind and moisture that will mould once it is wrapped.  

Among the things I need to get done in the next couple of weeks are: dropping my bubblers – two of them – one fore and one aft.  These are the devices that churn the water around the hull, keeping ice from forming and crushing me.  I probably won’t have to run them for awhile… probably.

I will also run a few cycles of fresh water through my fresh water tank which I have not used since May.  Beginning in April, my fresh water is supplied by the marina from the dock, directly to my water-system.  This water supply is shut off in early November and the boats that winter-over must then run off their on-board, fresh water tanks.  These tanks must be filled about every other week, externally, with a garden hose, that runs under the water.  Not a horrible system, but certainly a cold, inconvenient drag.  

This will also be the week we attach the propane tanks to the furnace and blow the cobwebs out of the duct work… I’ll plastic the interior windows, hook up the electric blanket, and re-up my subscription to Netflix… 

Here we go.

Next Post: November 27th, 2008 #32: "Gratitude"

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